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Preller moves forward after missing on Ohtani

Padres GM will use Winter Meetings to improve team's roster
MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Ultimately, Shohei Ohtani didn't choose San Diego. But the Padres still surprised many in the baseball world by becoming one of the favorites in the sweepstakes for the two-way Japanese phenom.

Speaking for the first time since Ohtani's decision to sign with the Angels, Padres general manager A.J. Preller noted that he was proud of his team's pitch, even though "disappointment" came with the end result.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Ultimately, Shohei Ohtani didn't choose San Diego. But the Padres still surprised many in the baseball world by becoming one of the favorites in the sweepstakes for the two-way Japanese phenom.

Speaking for the first time since Ohtani's decision to sign with the Angels, Padres general manager A.J. Preller noted that he was proud of his team's pitch, even though "disappointment" came with the end result.

"I'm really proud of our group," Preller said from his media availability at the Winter Meetings. "We put a lot of time and effort into it, and I think we just tried to show him why San Diego was a great fit. Ultimately, that's all you can do -- put your best foot forward, see where it goes. You're never 100 percent certain why guys choose certain places. But I was really proud of our group and the work that we did."

Hot Stove Tracker

The Padres organization boasts a number of connections to Ohtani, leading many to speculate on his interest in San Diego. Instead, Ohtani chose the Padres' closest neighbor.

"There was disappointment at first, but pretty quickly, there's understanding we have a lot of work in front of us," Preller said. "From that point, it gave us a chance to move on, and then start lining up other options and opportunities."

Preller, Myers discuss OF move

Preller did not address rumors that the Padres have been linked with free-agent first baseman Eric Hosmer. But he acknowledged that he's spoken with Wil Myers, the club's franchise first baseman, about a move to the outfield.

"We see him as a first baseman, we see him as a guy that can play a quality first base for us," Preller said of Myers. "But ... if we get a chance to upgrade elsewhere and we think that makes us a better club in the short-, and long-term, he's open to talking about going back to the outfield."

Myers played the outfield during each of his first three big league seasons, including 2015 with the Padres. He shifted to first in '16 and was outstanding defensively, before taking a step back in a mistake-filled '17 season.

The Padres signed Myers to a six-year extension in January, and Preller lauded Myers for his willingness to mold his game for the club's needs.

"The only thing he's really told me is, 'I just want to win, and I'd rather win at any position than lose at one locked-in position,'" Preller said. "That's a credit to him. It's good when you have a player that sees it that way."

Chacin reunion possible

The Padres remain in talks with right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, though no deal appears imminent. Chacin posted a 3.89 ERA -- including a 1.79 mark at Petco Park -- for the Padres last season.

Still, there's more than one spot to fill in the Padres' rotation. Last week, Preller professed a desire to enter camp with 10 big league-caliber arms. Currently, the Padres have six or seven candidates.

"We're going to look to add to that, definitely," Preller said. "My guess is we come out of here with a few more options. Whether it ends up being 10 legit starting pitching options, I don't know. But you need a lot going into camp."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres